Ever been in a period of your life, when you are doing life with your mouth hanging open because it takes too much energy to keep it shut? I have been there! When you are tired of yet another “tough time”, really “battling it out” in just about every area of your life. For me it was my marriage, my spiritual life, my children, friendships, finances, family.
Perhaps for you it is something else, but you get to the point where you feel weighed down. Where someone has tied a load of rocks around your waist and your job is to drag them around. I felt angry, frustrated, tired of living with this or that, offended by people, raging against wrong, always trying again, keeping it together, doing one day at a time etc. I was tired!
I lay in my bed in the early hours of the morning… which in itself was not normal (I sleep like the dead), but my heart was ‘troubled’. I contemplated my life and reasoned like you probably do, that if I could just figure out what it is that I have to fix, everything would be better. I reasoned that I had to get closer to the Lord and if I could fix my spiritual life or whatever it is that He was not pleased with, then my life would be easier. Fix it with God, fix everything – right!
So I prayed: “Lord, I want to be closer to you. I want my heart to be in tune with Your heart. Search me, Oh God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Out of the silence came loud and clear; “Are you serious?”
Surprised, like being caught with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar, I spiritually sat up. I had been asked a question! Was there anything in my life and heart that I had not confessed to the Lord? My mind raced through possibilities. Was there something in my life that I was just not seeing?
“I am serious,” I ventured, “I do want to be closer to You, but I don’t know what it is, that is in my heart, that you want to show me?” Around about this moment, I identified that feeling inside: when you go to Mom and ask where that thing is you are looking for, and she points to the most obvious place in the whole house.
“Well,” said the Lord, “let us look into this little Pandora’s heart of yours and see what treasures you are hiding in there.”
In my mind, I got this picture of a heart-shaped box, the inside lined in black velvet, with little pockets all along the side. In each little pocket was a treasure, neatly wrapped up in white tissue paper and tied with golden cord. All the treasures of my heart were hidden in this box, in the folds of the velvet. Some where wrapped in wrinkled tissue paper, often opened and admired; others were wrapped in pristine white tissue, unwrinkled, tied with golden string, never opened and still others lay at the bottom, never moved, but regularly checked upon.
I knew instantly which treasures were which, even those I had “forgotten” about. Some of those treasures God knew about, but there were also treasures in there that I had never opened before the Lord, yet were stored in my heart. These treasures represented my heart, “for where your treasure is, is where your heart is also.” (Luke 12:34) But furthermore, “as a (wo)man thinks in her heart, so she is.” (Prov 23:7 KJV)
These treasures determined the state of my heart!
He was asking to go through my ‘treasure box’ with me, to examine my heart treasures and together discuss the keepers, the ones to throw away and things to look at differently (treasures that were actually costume jewelry, that I considered the real thing, or even precious treasure being treated with no value as if they were trinkets.)
All of us have our heart treasures, hidden in our hearts. That night was the start of an honest journey into my heart with the Lord by my side. What happened that night, is a story for another day, but together, the Lord and I were uncovering treasures both good and bad which are being unleashed against the world in the form of me, my thoughts, my behavior, my attitudes, my actions etc.
To open a Pandora’s box according to Ask Yahoo: “is to receive a gift that appears valuable, but in fact will inflict no end of misery on its owner.” (It brings to mind a cute puppy dog or a new appliance.) They say it is to: “unwittingly unleash chaos on yourself and those around you.” I have found this to be true. Jeremiah 17:9 warns that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” I honestly wonder how some things get into my heart in the first place and I know that what is in my heart that determines who I am!
But I have also discovered that it is not all bad!
There are other treasures in my heart, treasures of understanding, wisdom, truth and wonder at the Lord I love.
Most importantly, just as in the Pandora story, she closed the box just in time to trap hope inside; I have discovered that for all the treasure in my heart, good and bad, the one that is most precious to me: is hope. I have come to know that “the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:11).
I have come to cherish that treasure of hope.
And so with much encouragement from friends and family, I share here with you my heart treasures. Here I share my Pandora’s heart, the treasures and the rotten dirt! I hope that your heart will identify with mine and that you too will find your own treasures to take hold of.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
When last did you unpack your heart before the Lord and look at each of the treasures individually? Why not take some time and go through every compartment of your heart and just look at what is there. No decisions, no action. Just look and show them to the Lord. He knows what is in there, but He wants you to show Him.
And then dear friend, have a good look, is hope still tucked away in one of the compartments of your heart?
This being my first post ever, is dedicated to Raylene Shipham, my dear friend and spiritual sister: who always said to “write in all down.” She encouraged me to remember that God is not finished with me yet (Phil 1:6).